7 Hacks That Will Change the Way You Book Your Cruise

Mar 28, 2022 | MONEY SAVING IDEAS | 0 comments

Reading Time: 3 Minutes

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links.  Click here to read our Affiliate Policy and Disclaimer

The Way You Book Your Cruise May Change

Over the years, savvy cruisers have learned the tricks of the trade when it comes to booking cruises. They understand that securing the perfect cruise is not as straightforward as you might think. When it comes to book your cruise, there are so many elements to consider, including:

  • choosing the right cruise line
  • the size of the ship
  • the destination
  • time of year
  • booking at precisely the right time
  • remaining vigilant for price changes
7 Booking Hacks

Please PIN to save to your favourite Pinterest board

It is no longer just a case of browsing the web to secure the best deal, even though it is tempting the think this may work. With our seven simple tips and tricks, you might be able to discover special pricing, rack up significant OBCs, cabin or stateroom upgrades and maybe enjoy freebies that others may not be aware of.

1 – Don’t Assume Booking Direct with the Cruise Line is BesT

You would think that going direct and book your cruise through the cruise line would automatically bag you the best deal. This is not very often the case!

Cruise lines do have direct sales teams but they rely upon thousands of Cruise Travel Agents to sell the bulk of their cruises. To ensure that the cruise lines themselves do not undercut the agents they normally sell cruises at the full or regular selling price with no discounts, savings or other perks.

The cruise line direct sales teams are well organised and have a great affinity for their products but agents can offer so much more. Cruise travel agents can offer substantial savings, perks and other goodies resulting in incredible deals for the consumer.

Related Posts:
9 Critical Reasons you Should Use a Travel Agent to Book Your Cruise
How to get the The Best Cruise Deals and What to Watch Out For

2 – Pay more for a lower total price

It sounds a bit odd, but sometimes it is better to pay a little bit more on the base cruise fare as the upgraded facilities and amenities included can make a huge impact on the total cost of your cruise.

If you’re working with a limited budget and plan to keep your onboard spending to an absolute minimum, then choosing a cruise with the lowest headline prices maybe your best option.
Always watch out for the hidden extras like gratuities, speciality restaurants, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages as they can soon mount up.

However, if you can afford to pay a bit more when you book your cruise, the returns you receive may exceed the price difference in the fares. It is true that in the cruising industry the best deal isn’t always the one with the lowest fare.

Good examples of this are All Inclusive Cruises where everything is included for an upfront price. At the end of your cruise, there is nothing else to pay for as almost everything including drinks speciality restaurants, gratuities etc is included.

Related Posts:
The Benefits of All-Inclusive Cruises Revealed

3 – Watch Out For Price Drops

By keeping your eyes open and checking cruise line promotions, you can sometimes find huge price drops on certain cruises. One way to do this is to sign up for cruise line newsletters and updates which will inform you about their latest deals and incentives to get you to book our cruise. Social media is another great place you should monitor as cruise agents quite often use this method to promote specific voyages where there are hidden deals.

If you see a deal that’s better than the one you already have, the first call should be to your travel agent and ask for a price match. Most agents who value your business will go out of their way to find a solution by either matching the price or offering extras like onboard credits, cabin upgrades or drinks packages or pre-paid gratuities. You will find that some travel agents are proactive and have your interests at heart and these will tell you about price reductions. Others will just hope you don’t find out! It is in your best interests to monitor for prices changes as you’re the person who has the most to gain.

4 – Refer a friend (or get referred)

Recommend-a-Friend programs are great marketing programs to generate new business for health clubs, hair salons and many other services and it is the same for cruises. Most cruise lines offer referral incentives if you recommend someone to the cruise line who has never sailed with them before.

First-time cruisers should always check if their cruise line or travel agency offers a referral programme. Oftentimes, both you and the new guest will both receive an onboard credit or discount on their first cruise. It’s a win-win situation. If you are not sure your cruise line offers a referral programme then check with your cruise travel agent.

5 – Call for hidden pricing

If you spot an advert for a cruise and the travel agent tells you to call for pricing, this is a sign that there may be a great deal available. Don’t be fooled into thinking the ship is sold out or this is some kind of marketing trick.

Because some travel agents have direct relationships with cruise lines, they quite often receive what are known as “covert offers” that they’re only allowed to promote to a closed audience.
What this normally means is that the cruise line doesn’t want to publicly advertise a lower price, but they have inventory they are keen to fill. This means that there are potentially some amazing deals available if you are flexible, but to take advantage of the savings you have to call to discuss your options.

The better Cruise Travel Agents are also privy to promotions before they are released and get to know about offers and potential savings. Talking to your travel agent on the phone might seem a bit old fashioned these days, but if you want to book the best deal for your cruise, it’s essential.

6 – Book onboard

Booking a cruise while you’re already on a cruise might seem like a strange idea, but it’s a great way to be rewarded with extra bonuses and discounts.

Typically you can earn an onboard credit for use on the cruise you book plus oftentimes enjoy reduced deposits. Some cruise lines offer schemes whereby you can buy a Future Cruise Credit (FCD) on board for a nominal sum which entitles you to a 5% discount on any future cruise with that cruise line.

Seabourn have a scheme whereby you buy a Future Cruise deposit which you can use against any future cruise. The great thing is that if you don’t use the FCD within 4 years, this is fully refundable.
Once you have booked onboard, nominate your preferred travel agent and transfer the booking to them.

Good travel agents can offer you even more perks on top of what you negotiated on the ship including better pricing, more onboard credits (OBCs), flowers in your stateroom etc. This trick is a no-brainer if you know you want to cruise with the same cruise line again.

Related Articles:
How to get and Spend Cruise Onboard Credits
How to Get the Best Cruise Deals

7 – Booking Online Isn’t Always a Good Idea

Booking your cruise Online may seem like the best way forward but it is not always the best way to secure the best value for your cruise.

Selling cruises online is all about reducing the cruise lines’ cost of selling their cruises.  It is a mechanical process that simply presents you with basic information and a price.

What you miss out on is understanding the nuances of the cruise you are booking, where the best cabins or staterooms are located plus any deals that might be just around the corner. Once you click the ‘Buy Now’ button, you are booked.

From experience, we have found that working with a good cruise travel agent almost inevitably means you end up with a better deal than booking online. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for booking your cruise online, but in our opinion, it is not always the best way. 


cruise booking hacks

Booking your Cruise Online is not always a good idea

Booking Hacks – Some Additional Thoughts

Hopefully, these Cruise Booking hacks with help you decide on the best way to book your next cruise and ensure you get the cruise vacation you were expecting. Always keep your wits about you and don’t accept the first offer or price you see. Normally there are lots of extras you can take advantage of by being smart.

If you are really keen to understand more about cruising then we recommend that you invest in a copy of the Berlitz Cruise Guide.  It is packed full of useful cruise-related information.  You can read our review here.

Have you any Cruise Booking Hacks that you think we missed?  if so let us know and we can add them to our list.  Have fun…..



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Mike & Anita

Welcome all cruise enthusiasts!
We’re Mike & Anita, your spirited guides to cruising the high seas (and Rivers), and we’ve clocked in over 600 days at sea.

This blog is dedicated to all you cruise lovers out there. It is a place to dive into the wonderful world of cruising. Join us on this exciting voyage where we share not just tips but insider secrets and money-saving gems about cruising.

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time cruiser, get ready to explore, learn, and soak up the joy of our seafaring adventures. Happy Cruising! 🚢✨

Find Out More

A passionate cruiser and photographer with more than 600 days at sea, and just a few, but growing number of Luxury River Cruises. Our expereince as hotel inspectors for a prestigous French brand help us uncover all the good things about luxury cruising. All-Inclusive Food and Wine Cruises always attract our attention!

Subscribe For Updates

We really do hope you enjoy our blog and all that we have to offer.  Don't miss out on our latest money-saving tips and tricks by joining our mailing list and becoming a Smart Cruiser!

We promise not to spam you and you can unsubscribe at any time...

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list and become a Smart Cruiser!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest